Cindy Rosmus placed 4th in the annual Preditors and Editors competition with her short story “Kissy Face,” originally published on Beat to a Pulp. Cindy is also the editor of Yellow Mama, a fiction site dedicated to short stories and poems, and has made herself into a near- legendary figure in the ‘zine world by helping other writers craft their stories, offering valuable insight and inspiration along the way. Beat to a Pulp salutes Cindy for her recent win, and for her devotion to writers and writing.
Elaine Ash: Cindy, give us a little of your writer’s bio as well as your career as an editor.
Cindy Crosmus: Before I sold my first story, “Hangovers” to Oui Magazine, back in ’88, I’d been sending stories out for FOUR years! I had 500 rejections in a shoebox, under my bed. Some of these rejections were NASTY, too. I have four collections of stories out: Angel of Manslaughter, Gutter Balls, Calpurnia’s Window, and No Place Like Home, all published by Fossil.
In late 2006, Ken Crist, publisher of Black Petals, also the brains behind Fossil, asked if I wanted to start my own magazine. The result was Yellow Mama. I like to believe YM has something for everyone: noir, hardboiled, horror, erotica, literary, and occasionally an inspirational story. I’m a live wire who drinks beer and Jack and sings karaoke on Saturday nights, but gets up & crawls to Mass on Sunday mornings.
EA: What are your goals?
CR: To find peace of mind. Writing-wise, I enjoy having a following of cool friends and fellow writers. I don’t expect to get rich off writing, but so what? I write from my heart and my ass. When I used to write porn, I made extra money, but I HATED it. If you’re only writing what somebody else wants (or pays) you to do, you’re no kind of writer.
EA: In your opinion what is the best way for a beginning writer, with no published credits at all, to approach an editor with a story?
CR: FIRST of all, make sure your manuscript is free of errors! I can’t stress that enough. Nothing irks me more as an editor than to get a story filled with typos and misspelled words . . . sometimes in the very first paragraph! Also, avoid using a lot of show-offy adjectives and adverbs, to make your piece more literary. Too much overblown description and imagery stops the action, and turns me right off. My advice is: read the story out loud to a friend, or even just to yourself (I’m my own toughest critic). If it doesn’t flow, something’s wrong. Fix it, then send it out.
EA: In your opinion, what are the best online sites out there?
CR: My favorite online magazines are The 13th Warrior Review; John Erianne is a fine writer and a tough editor. I learned a lot from him, MediaVirus, Black Petals (the best for horror and sci fi), Zygote in My Coffee, Lit Chaos, and of course Beat to a Pulp! Each has something special to offer, genre-wise.
EA: What about print magazines? In your opinion, what are the best outlets for short stories?
CR: I’ve been out of the “print” loop for so long, but the best for crime/noir is still Hardboiled (I owe a lot to Gary Lovisi). Out of the Gutter is a way-cool print ‘zine, too.
More on Cindy’s body of work:
Cindy’s fiction is published in Black Petals, Zygote in My Coffee, Hardboiled, MediaVirus, Out of the Gutter, Devil Blossoms, 13th Warrior Review, and Mysterical-E.
She won the 2009 Cronopios and Famas Prize for Short Fiction (sponsored by Lit Chaos) for her short story, “Stanzi.” Back in 1986 her story “Angel of Manslaughter” won the Margarita G. Smith Award for Short Fiction from the New School for Social Research. .